Here’s why everyone’s pissed off about City of Heroes NPCs in NCsoft’s MOBA

Yesterday, NCsoft took the lid off a secret it’s clearly been working on for a while: The company means to introduce a notorious and well-known City of Heroes NPC as one of the characters in its upcoming MOBA, Master x Master.

Here’s the thing. Master x Master is actually pretty well-liked around here. The writers we’ve sent to test it out the past few years came away thinking it was an excellent hybrid PvE MOBA with a lot of MMO elements, a genuinely good entry to the market and something we’re happy to cover. So I don’t think anyone wishes it, specifically, harm.

But NCsoft? I don’t know who told you this was a good idea. It’s really not a good idea.

Down in the comments of yesterday’s news article on the topic, our readers more or less fell into two camps: The “fuck you NCsoft” camp and the “wait, really, NCsoft?” camp. There were very few people sitting on the sidelines. There were, however, some folks confused about why everyone else is either pissed off or horrified or bewildered. Why isn’t this a good thing, they asked. Aren’t they honoring a game we loved?

I’m going to go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt that honor is what they intended. MxM is akin to Heroes of the Storm in that iconic characters from all its other games find their way into the game as playable heroes. They’ve got the City of Heroes IP lying around doing nothing — may as well use it. I can even believe that out-of-touch execs on another continent somehow thought we’d be excited, thrilled, grateful to see a City of Heroes character brought back to life in some way.

Yeah, no.

Understand that the City of Heroes community is really not over it, nor should we be. The belief that the game was cut down when it was doing well, by suits on the other side of the ocean, is widely held. It’s well-trod ground at this point that the game by itself was modestly profitable on its own, but there’s no doubt the studio’s overhead was excessive as CoH was effectively paying for R&D on Paragon’s second game, still in-dev. Moreover, the way the sunset was carried out was disrespectful and cheap even compared to NCsoft’s history with sunsets, with devs turned out before they could arrange a final patch or event. The community presented a heroic effort to save and buy the game in a way I’d not seen before (and have not since, in almost 20 years). I took part in the daily protests myself. So did several other members of our staff at the time. It was all for nothing.

Well, not for nothing: A small but dedicated group of gamers has been actively boycotting NCsoft ever since. And following the sunset, multiple spiritual successors sprang up. The first and probably biggest was City of Titans, which pulled in almost $700,000 in Kickstarter funding all by itself, just a sliver of how much goodwill money NCsoft threw away when it nuked Paragon.

The people shoving money at City of Titans and the other successors don’t want a MOBA; they want City of Heroes, a robust superhero MMORPG. They don’t want a Statesman action figure in a game they wouldn’t play even if they weren’t boycotting the company behind it.

The fact that the character NCsoft picked to lead off this fiasco is Statesman is just an extra “slap in the face” (commenter quote!) since the developer behind the iconic character actually left City of Heroes years before to build Champions Online and has since vacated Champs too to head up the studio working on DC Universe Online. Consider this: When Statesman was killed off in-game, some CoH players celebrated. Another avatar, as our former City of Heroes columnist Eliot noted, might have been a wiser choice; BABs, War Witch, or Penny Yin would have given the whole introduction an entirely different flavor.

Ultimately I think your level of outrage over this probably hinges on whether you still believed there was a chance players could negotiate for a license to use the City of Heroes IP — or more. That’s exactly what Titan Network folks were doing back in 2014, so it’s not some wild theory. It seemed plausible. It hasn’t gone anywhere publicly, but it’s always been there as a possibility. Anyone who was hanging on to that dream saw it shattered yesterday. It’s highly unlikely NCsoft will sell or license the IP or servers if it’s using chunks of that IP in a brand-new MOBA.

I realize there are also gamers who genuinely believe NCsoft is purposely “rubbing salt in the wound.” I don’t personally believe this is a decision of malice, however; this is a decision of cluelessness. They misjudged the situation and us once again. MOBA players won’t care about freaking Statesman, and we won’t play their MOBA, so what do they get out of this? I suppose now they’ll have the fun of explaining why their new character has sparked mainstream controversy in the western world. Enjoy reiterating your “it’s just business” sunset history to a whole new generation of gamers who prior to this didn’t even know what City of Heroes was!

Surprisingly, there are also people who’ve chosen to see NCsoft’s move as a calculated attempt at reconciliation with the American MMO playerbase, such that posters on several mainstream gaming sites have floated the idea that NCsoft is resurrecting City of Heroes characters as part of a marketing push for a future City of Heroes 2 attempt. I’m not so great a fool as to buy that, but it’s intoxicating nonetheless.

All these years later, NCsoft still doesn’t understand how beloved City of Heroes was — or why. The people who boycott NCsoft games aren’t going to be be mollified by this in any way. All it’s done is reignite a smoldering flame of rancor.

The MMORPG genre might be “working as intended,” but it can be so much more. Join Massively Overpowered Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce in her Working As Intended column for editorials about and meanderings through MMO design, ancient history, and wishful thinking. Armchair not included.
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286 Comments on "Here’s why everyone’s pissed off about City of Heroes NPCs in NCsoft’s MOBA"

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Thomas McGrath

I have no real proof of this and can’t say who told me because they can lose their job. COH was paid to shut down its servers , why it was killed off when it started to pick up again . Is it true? I don’t know , but to me it would only be the only reason a company would shut down an mmo that was making them money. I’ve been waiting on either a emulator or a standlone version of the game by a group of people. You would think if Earth and beyond has one, COH would too. EandB was offline for almost 10 years I think before an emulator started to work in parts. I just thought COH would had one working “in parts at least”

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Matthias Olander

Yeah that rumor started just a few months after CoX closed (as far as i remember there were even a dev at Paragon doing an AMA on reddit that more or less hinted at such). So it’s not beyond the realms of possibilities that it was actually true.

Personally i suspect that NCsoft started closing down MMOs to release funds and developers for their (now failed and canceled) EQ Next.

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Peter George Stewart

No NCSoft I am not going to play your s****y MOBA just because you put a CoH character in it. In fact I decided back in, oh let’s see, 2012 I think it was, that I’m never going to play anything published by you ever again, until you either restore CoH, or sell it, or let people make emulators of it. Get lost.

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Thomas McGrath

I agree. I will never buy another game made by or supported by ncsoft . every game I’ve played on theirs have been closed down and I bought guildwars when it came out, and after stop playing it for a few years they removed it from my account. I called their CS and they said my account never had guildwars on it :/

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James Barton

So I had no clue what this was, and man can I tell you how excited I got to see statesman. I thought, could it really be coming back? Could there be a revival or a COH2? Nope, just a big slap in the face.

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Lynx Raide

Could I be devil’s advocate here in that they could be considering resurrecting CoH? May be wishful thinking, but I dont think they would be making a crossover MOBA without having something active behind the IPs they are using

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Ken from Chicago

PREACH IT, BREE! AfrellingMEN! The REALLY stupid part of all this NCSoft could have done BOTH! They could have added City Of Heroes IP into a moba ala Heroes of the Storm AND kept CoH running / kept CoH in maintenance mode / licensed it out to City of Titans.

I didn’t think it was possible for someone to “top” for mmo cluelessness Smedley’s claim that, what’s now known to be H1Z1, the zombie mmo, would be the game former Star Wars Galaxies could “come home to”. Bad enough TPTB failed to take advantage of City Of Heroes demise to step up to make Champions Online the obvious benefactor–but nooo, but this?!

I find myself agreeing with Bree. This is not a crime of malice but one of cluelessness–which in some ways is worse. At least if this was intentional, it would be a backhanded recognizing CoH’s importance, but causing such emotional damage without even realizing it? It’s galling.

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Seiichi Himura

I can’t believe that NCsoft are so dumb it makes a monkey’s IQ look better than them. They cancelled a game that created harmony. Think of the chance if they still had City Of Heroes. They could get 700,000$ and they could enjoy and they didn’t get it. And they never deserve it either. Because they cancelled City Of Heroes for no reasons to explain but did it because they were too dumb to understand.

They still have other way to get love and wealth IF they bring the game back in two options.

1. Sell the IP to a company or someone so they could get the love back.

2. If they introduce The New Statesman in MXM. Then they should bring City Of Heroes back.

If they follow one of those options. They may have the ability to get what they wanted, wealthness, and being loveable again. If they fix their small brains before they lose brain cells each time they make a dumb excuse for their apologize like. Bring Statesman to a new developed game to make fans happy.

They are wrong. In many shapes of ways they are wrong. They still have the chance. If they want to bring it back or the community can create a internet war and debate against NCSoft’s lies of tricking the crew’s deal to get City Of Heroes back. But decided to bring Statesman to show they still own IP which a total dick move for them to do. Which makes NCsoft the real villain.

And yet this war and bringing back the game itself has been on like almost 5 years. This proves that NCSoft have to bring the game back or this will continues for sentries without end until they game itself is back. Only if they just think smart. They may have the chance to get 700,000$ or more. Although other fans are enraged by the cancellation of the game and start making spiritual sucessor of the game like City Of Titans, Heroes And Villains, Valiance Online, and now Ship Of Heroes.

This is insane! 5 freaking new making superhero game for what? Because they cancelled a good MMORPG game for no reasons. So this is just now creating a war between NCSoft and City Of Heroes Communities. So NCSoft must hurry and bring the game back or this will continue without end.

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Paul Cole

So as usual a little late for the party.

While I rolled my eyes, seeing Statesman in a MOBA, honestly I get it. Statesman is not there for the CoH fans sadly. Not meant to be a jab at us from the CoH community. It wasn’t done out or ignorance, malice, or just as a big Middle finger to player/fans. The key thing here is timing.

It’s coming up on 5 years since anything for the characters in the IP has been done. Why is that important? In most countries 5 years is the deadline for trademarks. If something is not done or used after 5-10 years depending on the Country’s laws that trademark gets released and can be copied. It was self preservation on NCSofts part. If they do not do this they risk losing the naming and character rights to any would be party who decided to squatter it. So NCSoft couldn’t even develop CoH 2 use Statesman or any other items and the IP is basically less than worthless as it wouldn’t be allowed any potential without license from the new trademark holders.

It could also be a testing ground. If Statesman is heavily played it could lead to looking into some type of development of another game a relaunch if you will. Does not mean those people who were not hurt by the sudden shutdown shouldn’t be bothered by old feelings. Just means NCSoft is again doing what it does best, trying to keep afloat by whatever means the deem necessary.

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Johnny

There is no such thing as MMO elements as MMO only stands for the amount of people playing online together. Therefore, its an MMO or not. There are no “elements” to an MMO other than quantity.

Reader

I already actively avoid NCSoft. Things like this only solidify my hate.

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Emperor Caligula

I am always amused to see, that Devs and Suits not understanding their player base is not the exception, but the rule.

I understand at the time CoH had come to an end, it was just super outdated. But just letting it fall without starting a worthy follower was sad.

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Madrona Madda

Shout out to the mod who deleted my comment. Let me know what was wrong with it if you can.
(There was nothing wrong with it.)

The main problem is that people who loved CoH view it was the superior game of its time, when another well known game actually did things better, smoother, and brought about a higher quality product. By the end, it was clear that the game had aged like milk left outside and NCSoft mercy killed the poor thing instead of doing anything that might help.

But all of this is over nothing. They put a CoH character in a horrible MOBA that probably won’t last a year. Be lucky somebody at NCSoft stopped getting reamed by the WildStar fiasco to remember what City of Heroes even was.

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Sorenthaz

what

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Sorenthaz

City of Heroes really wasn’t anything super special. Its graphics were woefully outdated by the time it was shut down, and its controls were clunky as heck.

It did not age well at all and I felt more confused than anything when I tried to play it in F2P after having played it off/on in years prior.

The main strengths it had were its systems, setting, and customization. It did a good job of capturing the feel of being a super hero/villain. You felt unique and awesome and you had a role no matter what combinations you chose powers-wise and whatnot.

Personally though I think DCUO has the overall better gameplay, but significantly less customization and the focus on instanced PvE loses points in my book because it would’ve been so much better if it were more sandboxy and open world like CoH.

quark1020
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quark1020

When you say instanced PvE, did you mean CoH or DCUO? Because I remember 95% missions in CoH where in an instance or some form. My Rock Tank would always jump into a sewer, enter a cave, a building, a temple, or a truck and we would get a zone to ourselves to beat up some bad guys (or good guys).

As for graphics, they were not as detailed if we’re comparing it to today’s standards, but there were more than adequate after the graphic overhaul. Yes, even with maxed settings, the models looked like they made of plastic, but these are super heroes! It was like we were playing with well made action figures. Also, the particle effects were well done, and I like fire spells with high particles.

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Louie

CoH missions were instanced, yes, but there’s a world of difference in comparing DCUO to CoH IMO. Even if viewing them as instances is true in a strict sense, there’s a huge difference in how that instancing “feels” for lack of a better term. City of Heroes had its instances spread all throughout the world and forced you to actually visit them in order to enter them, whereas with DCUO’s endgame instances it’s simply queuing up for them and then loading in.

But comparing the two as a whole is like apples and oranges for me personally also. DCUO has a tiny open world/leveling content and has only ever added to its endgame since it came out, which sucks because the leveling and questing in the open world areas was my favorite part of the experience.

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Gail Booth

Wait, people actually pick games by the graphics? I’m not being sarcastic, it’s just that it was a very tiny factor for me. I started out playing 8-bit RPG games with little square people running around with little rectangles we politely pretended looked like swords, so I’ve always figured as long as I could look at it and tell what it was, that was good enough.

For me the clincher was not that I felt unique, but that my characters were unique. I didn’t have to play Bob the Dark Whatsit who looked just like Bill and Biff the Dark Whatsits because they were all wearing the Armor of Armor and the Cloak of Savemyass. I didn’t look like anyone else. I didn’t have the exact same powers of every other character of a particular type. I need a game that lets me take the standard MMO wisdom, break it under my heel, and make it beg for my mercy. I haven’t seen any other game that would give me the feeling I got as Remidi, one of the best known Katie-runners on Pinnacle (all hail the drunk server!)

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Randell Hunt

Some people are silly like that. In a world with Minecraft, Undertale, Rimworld, Pony Island, Hotline Miami, Chroma Squad, and countless other games that compete well against or in some cases even crush AAA games you’d think people would realize that graphics are nice….but not needed at all.

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Denice J. Cook

Did you ever venture into Praetoria once the Going Rogue expansion hit? It looked amazing, easily as good as any brand-new MMORPG that launched in that year. Also, reskins of all the old zones were in progress during that time, too. Just sayin’.

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Duane Does not check email

The technology of 2002-2004 really showed its age and there were some design flaws / technology limitations in the game that may not have ever saw fixes. I am certain a mmo in 2017 will look equally aged in 2025 and people will ask wtf did they do that (?!?).

I know I waited all 8 years to finally see a cat in the game and it was worth the wait. I do believe the game could have used an engine upgrade, but not thrown away. The community would have paid for that upgrade and waited for the migration even if it took time.

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Sorenthaz

Personally I don’t really care that much about Master X Master nor really anything NCSoft touches these days. Not ’cause of the City of Heroes outrage, but just because their games aren’t that great and they are woefully out of touch with the Western audiences.

That said it really was done in the worst taste possible to include a character like that in the game. City of Heroes was basically nothing in the East, so the only reason to include someone from it is to appeal to Western fans of the game.

I still think the City of Heroes community is way too uppity over it in a way that even beats out the salt over SWG. But NCSoft is only fueling the fires at this point. Either you announce City of Heroes is coming back in some way or getting a spiritual successor/sequel, or you simply don’t pick at that wound that’s still way too fresh for people. Doing this is like… the most downright disconnected method to pay homage to the CoH community.

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Ekphrasis

Words escape me. The best I can manage is…

Edit: Off-topic, did the Benefactor, Founder, Patron etc. tags disappear with the new commenting system?

JiG2l[1].gif
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Utakata

“Edit: Off-topic, did the Benefactor, Founder, Patron etc. tags disappear with the new commenting system?”

Yep. As well as a number other things. It’s one step forwards, then two steps backwards, I’m afraid. As in, least we can block quote now, but at the expense of many other amenities. :(

PS/Off-topic: Sorry I haven’t being playing B&S for awhile. WoW sucked me right back in. :(

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Ekphrasis

No worries – I haven’t played an MMO for months now. I gave up on B&S after horrid AU latency and what I felt to be an overly grindy group oriented, gear driven end-game killed my enjoyment. Since then, nothing has really appealed.

I was sort of interested in Revelation but their overly spammy ‘buy to beta’ Emails turned me off – and I just haven’t had the urge to play since it launched. Plus, I haven’t had much time for gaming and when I do, it’s only 30m-1hour of free time and I feel like it isn’t enough time to really achieve anything so I’ll hit gym or take the dog for a run instead.

Hope all’s great in your world and you’re enjoying WoW! :)

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Pedge Jameson

I swear that was everyone at my family reunion one year. It was a blast. And that was before the Pabst Blue Ribbon was served.

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Pedge Jameson

It’s like in Walking Dead strolling by Maggie and going “Hey how’s Glenn? Ohh too soon?” :P

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Cypher

Well I’ve not watched Walking dead since that episode! Glenn was my fav…

/wipes tear from eye

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Pedge Jameson


Steven Yuen was was a riot on Comedy Central’s Drunk History.

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Pedge Jameson

And I know a Walking Dead reference is kinda lame, but I didn’t wanna be a dick and use a real world reference. :P

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

One thing strikes me, here it is, over 4 years later, and we just seem to be getting started!

/e holdtorch

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Gail Booth

I still have CoH installed on a PC. I just can’t bring myself to uninstall it.

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Denice J. Cook

Don’t: Head on over to CoHTitans, and into the Paragon Chat section of their forums, and then set up your client to run Paragon Chat.

You can run around in the entire CoH world with other players, including everything from Icon and Atlas through Brickstown, Dark Astoria, Croatoa, and the rest. You can ski down the Ski Slopes at the chalet, dance in the club, a live DJ works out of there sometimes, and they still hold costume contests and many different holiday events. You can also chat with everybody else still missing CoH. Travel powers went in a little while back ago, and emotes have been in since before that. It uses a free, generic chat client that hooks up to your client, and hooks your client with everyone else’s, so you can see others’ characters and talk to them while you’re in any and all of the CoH zones.

There aren’t any mobs or attack powers in at this time….and that’s all I’ll say about that. Head on over and say Hi!

Oh yeah, and I bought a new PC last week, so thanks for reminding me that I have to reinstall this as well! :) Have a nice day, and I hope to see you there.

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Gail Booth

*ponders* I seem to recall trying something like that a long time ago, but it only let you wander empty zones. I hadn’t realized Paragon Chat had advanced that far. Thanks for the heads up!

Solaris
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Solaris

Kind of funny the article, with NCSoft’s ads plastered, literally all over the site. Not judging just an observation. I know the site has to get revenue. :P

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Utakata

Has already been noted further down the comments.

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Pedge Jameson

So he didn’t scan the entire topic thread, give him a break.

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Pedge Jameson

Sorry, that came off seriously ca-ca didn’t it? :/

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Utakata

No it didn’t. It’s fine. As is, while I disagree with the position, I didn’t find it offensive. :)

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Terren Bruce

Even reading this long explanation the outrage still seems very silly and pointless. CoH’s is dead and it’s never coming back, putting Statesman in a MOBA doesn’t make it any deader. Go support City of Titans and move on with your lives.

I have nothing but sympathy for players when their beloved MMO sunsets, but the outrage over this is bordering on the silly yet sad category of outrage.

I’m sure they chose Statesman because he was at the front of the group of heroes that was on the cover of the CoH’s box. It’s nothing more than that.

For those ex-CoH’s fans supporting projects like City of Titans I have nothing but respect. But for those who spend their time whining about a character from a barely profitable MMO showing up in a MOBA game I have nothing but disdain and a little bit of pity.

Some of the people here really need to get some perspective. CoH’s wasn’t profitable. In Q2 of 2012 it was barely making more money than GW1 and it was making Wildstar level profits. That CoH’s was taken down before it’s time is a MYTH.

Even if they hadn’t’ sunset it… it would have been taken down by this point anyway. There is no alternate reality where CoH’s is still running in 2017.

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Legend Of Vinny T

Your wild-ass guesses of Paragon Studios’ financial situation changed four times in two paragraphs. I guess that’s the sort of thing that happens when you’re so incensed that other people care about things that you don’t, your reading comprehension abandons you. Why don’t you close your browser window, take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and come back when you can accept that anger not directed at you does not affect you.

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Terren Bruce

I wasn’t guessing, I looked up NCSoft’s financial report for Q2 2012 before posting.

I said it was barely profitable or not profitable at all, which is close to the same thing. Which of those two it was I can’t say for sure not knowing how much it cost to leave the servers on, but it was certainly one of those two.

Those were the only two opinions on the matter I gave. I include GW1 and Wildstar in the not profitable/barely profitable category. Neither shows up under it’s own heading in the latest NCSoft financial report.

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bobfish

The financial state of CoH is public record, NCSoft publish quarterly figures if anyone cares to actually go and look at the real numbers.

It is highly possible that it could have survived a few more years if current NCSoft management was making the decisions back then (they are after all letting Wildstar survive). But that survival would still have been short lived, the declining user base was never going to turn around, eventually it would’ve become unprofitable. Maybe it would have receive another year or two, maybe even three, but it wouldn’t have lasted until now.

I can understand why people are still upset, I mean some of us went through this with SWG, but MxM and it’s use of the character aren’t really aimed at the CoH player, it’s just adding more diversity to the hero line up.

Sometimes the best thing you can do, when it all out of your control, is to just simply walk away and this is one of those cases.

hurbster
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hurbster

Load of fuss over nothing.

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Tiresias

I still am bewildered by how City of Heroes / Villains was handled. Shutting down a game that is not profitable enough or even outright unprofitable to fire-sale the IP for a large cash infusion makes sense. Shutting down a game that is bleeding money and burning the IP as a failure also makes sense.

CoH/V was neither. It was a solid if unexciting performer that had enough content and community goodwill to be put into “maintenance mode” similar to GW1. Even more so because there are precious few “superhero” MMOs out there, so the competition for market share is weak. Heck, I know a lot of people who played CoH/V alongside Champions Online and DC Universe online — they all had pretty different experiences.

But now it’s too late. There is no way the game could be brought back online, and the great IP is rusting on a shelf while some infinitesimally tiny portion of it is dragged into the daylight to remind everyone of what was taken away.

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Gail Booth

Your post reminded me of a small town grocery near where I grew up. It was run by a family, and I was good friends with one of the daughters. She used to tell me about the arguments she and her sister would have when they went with their dad to buy products for the store. Her sister always wanted to cram the cereal aisle with the latest cartoon character high sugar high profit fads. Her reply was always, “Corn flakes. People in this town buy corn flakes.” Corn flakes, while not hugely profitable, were steady dependable sellers.

In the MMO market, CoH was a corn flake game. It wasn’t going to magically turn into WoW overnight. It wasn’t going to suddenly break out and take the gaming world by storm, though with the huge surge in superhero movies I wonder what some good advertising would have done. But it had a sizable group of steady customers who provided a stable profit. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

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Don Hawthorne

Here’s the thing:
If NCSoft admitted to their mistake and restored CoH tomorrow (along with Issue 25), left it up in perpetuity for players to use the in-game modding feature to add future content, and _never published another update_, I would forgive all, praise them to the heavens, re-subscribe and, just to show my appreciation, buy everything else they made.
But until and unless they do that, all I want to see from them is a failure so colossal that it drags them down into utter financial ruin, at which point I will gleefully dance on their grave.

shazanti
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shazanti

That is the only way I would ever play an NCSoft game again. I know it won’t happen, and I’ve accepted that, but yes- that’s the only way they would ever be able to get my money again. Or the money of my friends/family, if my words of advice be heeded, as I will always advise against getting invested in an NCSoft game.

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Connor

Never going to happen, considering City of Heroes was a barely notable figure on NCSoft’s charts when it shut down. The community isn’t big enough to cause them financial anything.

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Crowe

This was an awesome blunder by NCSoft. Then again, I think Statesman/Emmert was directly responsible for a lot of faults with the game and Paragon Studios seemed to be on the road to fixing them. NC clearly doesn’t understand the NA market.

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Michea Bonilla

I tried moving on after City was shut down. I tried putting my memories in a nice little box. I tried to forgive the people behind the events. I even tried playing Blade and Soul (TOXIC COMMUNITY ALERT), Wildstar (Oh look, a cutsey WoW clone) and Guild Wars 2 (It got boring fast), but it just didn’t work for me. I moved on to games such as SWtOR, DCUO, WoW, you name it, but nothing felt right. They were all just mindless gear grinds.

Seeing them bring back “Statesman” (in reality it’s Tyrant from Praetoria pretending to be Statesman according to what I’ve been reading) into a game that already has plenty of characters, felt like NCSoft had found the barely healed scars from what had happened and ripped them open again.

While my first MMORPG was Guild Wars, City of Heroes was the first game I was willing to pay a monthly subscription fee to play. I celebrated when I received my 3 month veteran reward, letting me wear a trench coat.

My husband can thank the community for his life, because when he was suicidal (this was before I met him) and ready to end it all, one of his online friends reached out to him and offered to let him stay with him. He’d never met my husband in real life, but he knew my husband was suffering and needed help.

My husband proposed to me on the game, and our best man at our wedding was the co-founder of the Super Group my husband founded. He was also the man who I can thank for saving my husband’s life.

When my husband and I got custody of his daughters, City of Heroes helped them better than therapy did. They were able to create a character and “defeat” the bad guys. They were able to channel their pain and anger through their character, and we started to see noticeable improvement in them. My eldest actually came out of her shell and started talking with people on the game, making friends and having fun. We couldn’t get her to do that anywhere else. She felt SAFE in the game thanks to the community.

While we had our ups and downs when dealing with the dev team (I have a list, I’m going to just leave it at that), I always looked forward to the meet and greets. I would travel from another state just to be there, to be able to interact with other fans. I joined in on the weekly coffee talk, taking my lunch early so that I could enjoy it while at work.

When City went free to play, I still kept my subscription up to the point where I lost my job and HAD to go free to play. It was less than a month later that it was announced that CoH was going down, so I was never able to re-up my subscription. The announcement felt like a knife in my gut, and even all these years later, I find myself tearing up when I think about the game and all of the fun I had.

I’m still in contact with friends from the game, but none of us have found a game with the same level of customization, the same level of playability, the same level of storytelling (I don’t care if there were no voice actors!), and I sure as hell have not found a community as wonderful as I’d found in CoH.

NCSoft choosing to use “Statesman” in their new game just twists that knife deeper into my side. It just reminds me that they never cared about the player base or the community, they only care when they think they can make a quick buck. They spit in the face of the players when they chose to shut it down. They could have just shut down the secondary game. They could have put the game in maintenance mode like they’ve done with others. They could have sold the IP. I refuse to believe that their actions weren’t anything but spite when they shut down the game.

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Pedge Jameson

I don’t know why but their auction house system was fun to use. It was just great to buy upgrades, it just really felt like you could really upgrade yourself much more than other mmo’s.

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Gail Booth

It wasn’t an illusion. I worked out a carefully crafted combination of enhancements and had a L50 empathy/energy defender who could solo all but the worst bosses. I did the same with an electric/electric blaster who could handle heavies by himself during Rikti raids. They can’t kill you if you drain all their power away. *cackles madly*

Ahem. Anyway, part of the fun of the game was taking characters that according to Game Wisdom were useless and turning them into insane dynamos.

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Darrall Williams

Just waiting for Ship Of Heroes kickstarter next month.

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Xijit

… of all the things out there in the world right now to get ******** about *shrug* to each their own, I guess.

For my 2 cents: I would be fucking ecstatic if NCsoft started putting eXsteel bots into this game.

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Xijit

god, do I miss that game …

miol
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miol

Too bad NCSoft also cancelled Project HON:

Project HON is cancelled by NCsoft



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MesaSage

So this is where everyone is.

capt_north
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capt_north

I took a peek at the MxM roster, and Statesman sticks out like a sore thumb. Outside the licensed properties and acquisitions, which I assume would be too expensive to include, NCSoft’s characters are uninspired and forgettable. They blend because they’re bland, creating a certain uniformity of mediocrity. Dropping a genuinely interesting character into the mix does no favors to anybody. It’s like finding Stanley Kowalski in a Capcom fighting game.

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Witches

I would expect his special move to be the wifebeater, i think it would be more popular than you think…

capt_north
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capt_north

Sadly, you are probably correct. I’d play Ishmael just to harpoon the poor bastard.

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McGuffn

Maybe we can eventually play Trahearne from GW2 in this game. Commander, to me.

Minus the ugly behavior, this seems very similar to the Mass Effect Andromeda article from yesterday. A lot of misdirected passion, some of it over a developer who left the company to start Champions Online. That was what, 10+ years ago? Do people still remember and or care about that?

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Sally Bowls

First, condolences to all those who lost something they enjoyed.

It could be that NCsoft is clueless to the Western market, due to either or that Asian and increasingly mobile games are their focus. E.g., I am not sure all ANet to AGS moves were AGS headhunting.

However, another theory is that the people here represent a not very significant amount of money – N.B. being careful to not say the people or their feelings are insignificant. I.e., if you look at the MxM, I would say their two biggest demographics are “never heard of CoH” and “Heard of but never played CoH.” The other extreme is the “will never buy anything from NCSoft ever” – this decision does not reduce the zero revenue potential from that group. I guess they should not have done it, but I think the “involved enough to comment on fansites” and “still upset over CoH closing” is far more represented here than in NCSoft’s income statement.

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Witches

The ad for MxM on the site would say otherwise wouldn’t you think?

miol
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miol

I would argue, “zero revenue potential” can also be perceiced as extreme!

As the in the article mentioned $700,000 in Kickstarter funding for City of Titans alone, is not exactly “zero”… If I know my math…

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Martinez

700k for a MMO is laughable…99.Cents Itunes games have bigger budgets..all these Crowd sourced City of Hero wanna be games are going to crash and burn due to lack of funds..having 5 different versions at once is only hurting all of there chances as None of them will be able to get that critical mass of players to keep afloat. A MMO game has to raise close to 2 million to be taken at all seriously..I hope all of these games make it but I’m not betting on it. I’ve seen too many new IP MMO games run out of cash after raising millions in funding…

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Bryan Correll

I think the ‘zero revenue potential’ SB was referring to is the group of people who were already not buying NCSoft games in wake of the CoH closure. So in this case NCSoft didn’t have to care about pissing that group off as they weren’t going to play MXM anyway.

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Sally Bowls

yeah. If NCSoft has made your unforgivable list, then you will give them no money, whether they do this or nothing.

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Sally Bowls

But my math is that $700,000 is one thousandth of NCsoft’s revenue in one year. To be overly pedantic, if you think back to science class and significant digits, then that is 0% of a year’s revenue.

If they are similar to my recollection of committee meetings and aversions to making a mistake, you would be very surprised at the cost of the legal fees and executive time it would take to sell an IP.

miol
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miol

Critisizing extremes, but extremely dismissing pointed out examples of a now fractioned community, are you sure you want to be pedantic that way? o.O

FVerret
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FVerret

This makes the adds on this site kind of ironic…

Ironic MxM adds

Justin Olivetti
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Justin Olivetti

We were chuckling about that this morning.

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Witches

I’m chuckling at him, just like i did a minute ago, typing adds instead of ads.

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Roxy Revolver

If you can’t understand why CoH fans are mad , then you didn’t love the game like we did . CoH wasn’t a pay to win game where you play free for a month and move on to the next game , it was our home . There has never been a game even comparable to it . They don’t make games like it anymore , it was one of a kind .

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Yoshi Senpai

Of course they didn’t. It was, like all their games, a tool to make money and they felt that shutting in down was in their best interest. That interest being money.

Modestly profitable is not how businesses survive.

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Roxy Revolver

If it was about profit , they could have sold the game and made more profit , so that theory doesn’t hold water . We’ve been trying to buy the game . Why not make profit off of selling a game that is no longer in existence ? I thought it was about profit ?

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Yoshi Senpai

Because that game would be competition and eat at their profits for their current stable of supported MMOs.

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Roger Christie

That generally speaking go nowhere in the west.

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Roxy Revolver

If it was such a threat , they should have kept it running . It also created a large player base that wont play ncsoft games , which means less profit . How are you gonna make money when people wont play your games ?

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Denice J. Cook

In which case, then keep CoH running themselves so as not to lose *that* profit which would otherwise go to their competitors. See? We can go back and forth about this all day.

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Yoshi Senpai

Or cut it off while telling your investors about the exciting new prospects of the line up of games they had coming out or recently released.

Again “Modestly profitable is not how businesses survive.” no one is going to invest in that hence why every business man to ever wear a suit has said “If you’re not growing you’re dying” and the rate of that growth has to be pretty good rate otherwise people are going to move their money into other investments.

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Nick

Thats just downright ignorant of business. EVERY successful company has reliably and modestly profitable products that can be relied on to turn a profit with minimal risk. It helps maintain a diverse portfolio. Even NCSoft does this, they probably just didn’t feel comfortable doing it with a ‘western’ game like CoX since they lack sophisticated understanding of the market.

People talk about it as if it was their sole product rather than one in a stable.

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Bryan Correll

“Modestly profitable is not how businesses survive.”

The hell it isn’t. The modestly profitable parts of a business are what keeps it alive when the exciting yet risky parts fail.

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Sally Bowls

Depends on yall’s definition of “modestly.” Business are judged on things like Return on Equity, Return on Sales. There is a financial percentage called “Cost of Captial” – If you earn less profit than than that, it is bad, your stock price will go down.

Say NCSoft spent $200M on a game that earns $3M a year in profits. I would certainly like an extra $3M a year. But for a public, high-beta, growth company like NCSoft, that would be bad. That would make their share price go down. It would be too modest of profits.

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Roger Christie

Which is exactly what’s wrong with business today. Modestly profitable is a fine way to survive when it’s part of a larger stream of revenue.

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Pedge Jameson

B.R., That is the simplest and most common sense way to explain why the MMO situation.

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Sally Bowls

(read explanation first)
Name one.

i.e., a way to make solid, consistent money from new Western, PC MMOs. Not in the jerk retort sense; rather, while it is topical and you are … let’s say energized, why not an article/watercooler on future PC MMO funding strategies? I question whether there is even a MMO industry; e.g., I think NCsoft is increasingly a game company not MMO company (with some side dalliances like baseball teams) I guess Trion is an MMO company, but who else?

Unfortunately, I don’t see MMOs being attractive to public companies. Unfortunately, it seems to me that private investors are far more interested in mobile and VR games these days. I can’t see new AAA MMOs ex AGS. And while lots of people feel otherwise, I think what can be delivered (as opposed to promised) from Kickstarter is underwhelming. If there were a way to deliver a Wildstar for 5-10M instead of ten times that, we could have lots of AAA diversity. Is CU the future? I.e., a number of not-everything-boxes – A or AA scope to affordably please their niche?

tl;dr: free and fairly priced advice: article on MMO funding

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Roxy Revolver

Then they should have sold it and made profit . Nobody who is loyal to COH will play or give money to this moba , just saying . Good luck to them , but they should have made a lil profit and sold the game and kept better relations with that player base .

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Armsman

Um, I’m NOT pissed…does that mean I’m no longer included with ‘Everyone’ in this world anymore?
(Oh, and I was one of the first 300 to beta test CoH back in December 2003 if that means anything.) ;)

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Was that when your progress was saved when you were inside door missions even if you logged out?

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Armsman

No, it was when they had to reboot certain zones every 15-30 minutes because their database was crashing with HUGE memory leaks – and completely rebooting was the only way to clear it. ;)

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Nathan Aldana

except an ex you dated in highschool,. presumably, was a breakup.

This is more like your ex died in a car crash and then years later someone trotted out her corpse hooked up to wires and pulleys and expected you to applaud the tribute.

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A Dad Supreme

More like they took your dead girlfriend and hooked her up with someone else altogether.
This isn’t as morbid a thing as you describe… it’s simply a business decision aimed at adding new content (character) to the MOBA’s primary playerbase, not geared to ex CoH players, lol.
They aren’t doing this to ‘win’ CoH players back (despite what some think). I don’t think they want the headache of dealing with the small but loud minority.
NCSoft is simply adding an asset from an IP in their company’s stable to a MOBA that includes many other assets from other IPs to compete with a heavily saturated but lucrative market.

boldarch
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boldarch

Most of us CoH fans aren’t mad at NCSoft soley because the game shut down, we are mad for 2 reasons:

1 – The actual developers of the game, Paragon Studios, fought hard to keep the game alive. NCSoft had none of it, and had the nerve to say they explored options and couldn’t find a buyer. The devs themselves wanted to buy their independence and continue development of the game, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for the “CoH fans”.

2 – There are no alternatives to play that match the feel and style.

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ChaosConstant

Oh man, I can’t wait for next week’s podcast and the epic Brant that will ensue when this story comes up.

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Denice J. Cook

Three cheers for Bree!

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Utakata

…plus two more; one from each pigtail! <3

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Jack Pipsam

I don’t think NCSoft as a corporation gets much about why anything they do is either successful or unsuccessful. The fact Wildstar is still up is endlessly amazing to me.

I personally gave up on them when they mass-deleted everybody’s account who didn’t merge into their new account system, but I had long since distrusted them with stuff like the closure of City of Heroes and Dungeon Runners.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I have a friend who works for a corporation that is a large distributor of soft drinks whose name rhymes with Poke. They have said more than once that there is no overarching plan, or design to their business decisions.

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Witches

I trust your friends bosses are aware that changing the formula of a popular soft drink and calling it “New Lprite” may have long lasting effects, even after you revert things to their original state.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

The story behind the change to New Coke and then reverting back to Coke Classic is actually quite interesting.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Yeah that was a ‘Homer’ if ever I heard one.

The ‘failure’ of New Coke brought them so much press that when they brought back Original Coke, sales skyrocketed.

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Roger Christie

Except, in the US, Original Coke isn’t original coke. It uses corn syrup instead of cane sugar. If you can find a store that stocks coke imported from Mexico, try one. You’d be amazed at the difference.

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Witches

when they brought back…

What happened was a product that had lost favour with consumers saw a renewed interest after being pulled from the market, they weren’t promoting a potentially popular product efficiently.

The lesson i take from that is, if i retire a product and people ask for it back i profit from giving it back to them.

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TheDonDude

That’s kind of an interesting idea. I wonder what happened in the alternate dimension where NCSoft did bring CoH back. Would it have thrived more due to people renewing their interest and folks realizing how close they were to losing the game?

Or would it turn into a Wildstar situation where the game’s days were known to be numbered, and thus folks would shy away?

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Duane Does not check email

Issue 24 cancelled weeks before release, the fan-mania and the devs were that special.

In my pie in the sky alternative reality it would be like the revival the Conan franchise is seeing. Maybe dong sliders too

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Bryan Correll

And many jokes about why Synapse never uses the showers at Freedom Phalanx HQ.

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Denice J. Cook

Or would the emu crowd divebomb in, swipe all the code, and vanish back into the night so that their beloved city could never be withheld from them ever again? ;)

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Witches

Yes, but then you don’t put out games at all because at the first sound of alarm the emu crowd can snatch it.

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Witches

This is WILD speculation, but between crowdfunding the spiritual successors and keeping DCU and CO afloat and MH doing well, i think the consumers are clearly there and willing to spend, and NCSoft lost money, and probably more important goodwill.

Also look at Blizzard, the good will from one game helps the sales of others, that’s the example they should be following.

The opposite example is DB, the backlash from EQN cost them Landmark and the ripple effect is yet to be determined.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

The irony is that the majority of people liked New Coke over either Coke Classic or Pepsi (and the entire reason for making New Coke was that they were losing the market to Pepsi’s superior marketing at the time), and some would even become angry when they were told they chose New Coke in taste tests. The problem is that Coke didn’t want to have two products and split their market share, so they went with just New Coke. The very vocal minority created a huge backlash, many of which themselves preferred the taste of New Coke over Classic (in taste tests), which was picked up by mainstream media, which was then picked up by everybody else. In the end Coke Classic was released and their market share skyrocketed.

Also, apologies on the off-topic. ;)

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Gail Booth

People really picked New Coke? Then why weren’t they drinking Pepsi to begin with? NC was way sweeter and didn’t have the absolutely essential Coke burn. :D

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Nathan Aldana

amusingly in taste tests people picked pepsi over old coke too, thats why new coke was formulated. Its just an interesting example of how people can override their sensory organs with their internalized beliefs.

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Bryan Correll

Then why weren’t they drinking Pepsi to begin with?

Because they were raised on Coke being “the real thing.” New Coke’s flavor was actually based on Diet Coke’s. At that point Diet Coke had only been around a few years (Tab had been the company’s first diet cola) and was hugely successful. Diet Coke had never tasted much like Classic Coke, and it wasn’t until 2005 that Coca-Cola Zero was launched with a flavor intended to match Classic Coke.

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Gail Booth

I’m an old broad who was around during the whole New Coke deal, so I remember Tab, etc. Though I was mostly joking, there is a note of seriousness to it. I drank Coke, and everyone I knew who drank Coke, not because of any marketing slogan or because I had been raised on it (we were a Koolaid house) but because Pepsi was way too sweet, and Royal Crown would put a diabetic into a coma. Coke had that acid bite, while Pepsi was just a syrup with fizz.

So really, I guess you could say my reaction to New Coke was pretty much the same as my reaction to CoH closing. “Thanks for taking away the only product on the market I was interested in.”

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Witches

With what we know today it’s not that ironic, after all it’s a sugary soft drink, it’s never really about quality.

If my favourite drink changed the formula without saying anything, it would take a while for me to stop drinking it, with some luck i might actually grow accustomed to the new taste and just keep buying it, on the other hand if they say they are discontinuing it someone may throw a fit and threat to stop buying their products altogether, i may hear or see the backlash and just hop along the bandwagon.

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A Dad Supreme

Plus, the actual dollar amount of Classic Coke drinkers was huge, even if they lost some customers to Pepsi.
The problem with CoH was even though the game was ‘successful’ and ‘profitable’, it probably wasn’t enough for NCSoft to worry about, so shutting it down made more of a sound business decision overall than the extra $ they got.
Once businesses get to the scale of NCSoft and Coca-Cola, profitable things often get shut down for other reasons that make good business sense, but not what a layman would think is ‘common sense’ (“But we were profitable.. why would they shut us down???”)
I mean, I could run a business and be ‘profitable’ clearing $20k a year, or I could sell that (or just shut down) and get a job for someone doing the same thing that would pay me $40k.
Makes more sense to shut my own business down than to operate at a ‘profit’ in this sense, which is how businesses do things.

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Witches

I disagree, once they reach a certain size the company is the real asset and it is more valuable than any product they put out.

Just look at Apple, they have ups and downs but the best decision was saving the Apple brand back in the day, basically it’s easier to sell a new product to an established consumer base than it is to create that consumer base.

That’s why you usually invest millions in a new product but pay billions for an established one.

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TheDonDude

Good summary of Classic vs New Coke. People often forget that Coke was losing the Cola Wars at the time and that trying something new was a completely logical decision.

Turned out to accidentally be the correct decision, in a roundabout way.

thorhex
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thorhex

Amazing that someone can take it as a personal affront that a company is using an IP it owns as it pleases, and in a completely harmless way. I’m sure NCSoft is cursing this “small but dedicated group of gamers” (websites like these in a nutshell?) for the negligible impact on their bottom line.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I am sure NCSoft isn’t so why not let those few folks who are upset about it grouse without having others denigrate them while they do so?

thorhex
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thorhex

True. Grousing is most of what anyone does in these sorts of articles anyway, and this serves as a decent containment chamber. Have at it.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Thanks for your blessing.

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Joshua Dickerson

NCSoft: “Hey kid sorry we killed your dog that you loved”

Kid: “Dude don’t bring that up, im not over it”

NCSoft: “Here I went ahead and took the dog to the Taxidermist. You can even play with him like you used to”

Kid: “Why would you do that??!!”

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Pedge Jameson

You win so much internets.

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TheDonDude

Personally I appreciate that you and I are able to disagree but still understand one another’s position.

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Craig Williams

Agreed. I will respect most opinions so long as they are presented reasonably and non-aggressively.

miol
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miol

Anyone doing the COH/SWG drinking game, must have had a liver transplant by now…

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Nordavind

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Sixcess

Nothing will reconcile me to NCSoft. Nothing. Even if they relaunched City of Heroes tomorrow exactly as it was I’d think twice before going back because I do not trust them and never will again.
As for their desperate attempt to get into MOBAs, MxM is going to be chewed up and spat out by League of Legends and DOTA, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving publisher.

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A Dad Supreme

“The people shoving money at City of Titans and the other successors don’t want a MOBA; they want City of Heroes, a robust superhero MMORPG. They don’t want a Statesman action figure in a game they wouldn’t play even if they weren’t boycotting the company behind it.”
======
Agree but, this isn’t about the “people shoving money at City of Titans”. It never was. NCSoft didn’t send letters out to ex-CoH MMO players saying “Guess who’s back?!?!”

This is a MOBA. It’s made for the people who shove money at LoL, DoTA, etc. Right now that market is far bigger with more potential than any new superhero MMO they could make would garner (as evidenced by the low interest/ backing for all the ‘spiritual successors’ thus far).

Honestly, I see no problem with NCSoft using an asset of THEIRS that THEY developed and OWN as a crossover in other ongoing projects where the majority of that particular playerbase will just see it as another character or asset to be played, thereby adding more interest to that particular revenue generating property.

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Craig Williams

As I recall, Cyptic created/ developed it, then NCSoft bought it. Point taken though.

Still, the problem for CoH fans is that they made numerous offers to purchase the IP and were constantly refused. Now, the thing that they wanted so badly is being cherry-picked and used to benefit other gamers who really don’t give a shit.

Imagine that you collect comics and meet someone with Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman). You make an offer to the current owner that is more even than it’s worth, but he just doesn’t want you to have it. You make other offers that get refused as well. You tell him to keep you in mind if he ever wants to sell.

Well, he finally does contact you, but it’s to tell you that he tore out a page to sell to someone who doesn’t collect, read, or care about comics. He wants you to know this, because he is paying a “tribute” to you.

It’s something like that.

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A Dad Supreme

I think the biggest stumbling block in regards to selling the CoH IP probably had more to do with a valuation of the IP between the parties. It’s like the NFL (football).
Right now, the Dallas Cowboys have a quarterback (Tony Romo) that a couple of teams wouldn’t mind having be a starter; he has had many injury problems… he’s still serviceable but comes with a big contract.
The main problem is that while the Cowboys are willing to part with him, they want value. They want first round draft picks (which no one will give) or equally valuable players (which no one will give). So since the Cowboys ‘own’ Romo, they will hold onto him until they get the deal they want or he can be a free agent.
Basically, the Cowboys don’t see a reason to just let him go to a competitor (another team) for very little even though he’s never going to play for them (the Cowboys) ever again.
Romo is a dinged-up “IP” (much like City of Heroes was) in his last days so no one will ever pay what he really is worth, they are just hoping to get him on the cheap simply because the Cowboys don’t need him.
NCSoft did this with CoH; they simply decided the offer wasn’t worth the competition/loss of future IP use, so they declined to sell it.
I’m sure if the ‘fans’ had made a big enough offer, NCSoft would have let it go.

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Denice J. Cook

There’s a fairly recent AMA on Reddit with C. Bruce (Back Alley Brawler), in which he says that ultimately the deal with Paragon to cut CoH loose failed due to NCSoft’s unwillingness to release player account info along with the game.

Transferring personal info, and more importantly, payment info, could have easily turned into a legal hot mess. However, imagine it’s the end of 2012, when the game was about to shut down. Now imagine telling every CoH player they’d lose all their characters, account unlocks and extra cash shop purchases of digital goods and have to start all over at ground zero. Paragon obviously didn’t think too many players would stick around under those circumstances, so the deal fell through.

However, there have been other concrete offers since, all turned down as well, when realistically these days most CoH players would likely start all over instead of not having the game at all, so I don’t know what was up with all that.

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Witches

Right now, the COH IP is making 0 in revenue despite how much it’s valued at, they could just rent out the IP and the servers to players, and then collect whatever is left after all the expenses are paid, meaning they could have the game running at a cost of 0.

The reason they don’t do it is because they have decided the game is not worth it, anything else would prove them wrong, this would make them look bad to their financial backers.

Using your example, if another team wanted to loan the player (not familiar with how american sports work in the subject of loans) and cover his wages 100%, and then the player would go out to outperform his replacement in the Cowboys, team management would be in trouble and anyone besides the team owner would have his job in peril.

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A Dad Supreme

“Right now, the COH IP is making 0 in revenue despite how much it’s valued at, they could just rent out the IP and the servers to players, and then collect whatever is left after all the expenses are paid, meaning they could have the game running at a cost of 0.”
=====
They could do this (I guess?), but multi-million dollar businesses aren’t run like rental properties so someone can get some ‘extra income’.
NCSoft doesn’t need ‘extra income’ to pay for their child’s braces, so the little money they get renting an IP would do nothing in the grand scheme of things.
The only party it really helps is the CoH spirituals, which end of being competition in a way.
It’s odd but companies view things as IPs as a real value not to be used in the wrong way because there is no telling what other value it will have in the future so unless you get a firm, solid offer of interest that makes it worth your while to go through the paperwork, it’s better off to just hold onto things like cars on used car lot, waiting for the right customer to come by and buy that Rambler off of you.

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Scott Schultz

Actually, they can’t. Even if they wanted to.

One of the issues that came out as a result of the initiatives to buy the IP from NCSoft is that NCSoft lost the code for the game.

The only thing they could come up with was a binary of the server.

That means, no new development. No way to fix bugs, and be sure, there were bugs. No straightforward way to adapt the game to whatever bookeeping and authentication system the new publisher would want to hook it up to.

The game could only be brought back frozen in time, if it could be brought back at all. No store; that was a different system entirely. No databases of the people who used to have accounts. The guys behind Paragon Chat have spent years learning the ins and outs of things; and even though they could obviously do more than they have, there are still limits to what they could do.

There’s just no incentive for NCSoft to try and do that work for something that would not go anywhere afterwards. Better to invest in a brand new game engine.

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Tim Sweeney

The databases, I will freely admit are most plausibly gone by now. Claiming to not have the server code is risible. If they dig and ask around, it’s out there.

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Denice J. Cook

It’s too bad that code couldn’t somehow find its way to a proper emu team…. Let’s face it, that’s the only way CoH will ever come to life again. It’s been 5 years and counting, and players are just not going to forget about this game.

Have you checked out all the progress on Paragon Chat, Tim? You can read about it on the CoHTitan forums.

*ducks*

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TheDonDude

While I get why folks are not happy with Statesman appearing in a MOBA, I still consider it overall a good thing. It shows that the IP still has some value rather than being dead.

I’m also not really on board with the notion that enough folks hated in-game Statesman. I believe most players are able to separate the in-game version and the out-of-game Jack. Statesman was, in game, the signature hero. It makes logical sense to select him.

As for why include Statesman in an MMO (given that CoH wasn’t an MMO), couldn’t the same argument be made for most of the MOBA line-up?

Don’t get me wrong, I agree totally that NC Soft did real bad by City of Heroes. But this action, taken by itself, seems ok to me.

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Craig Williams

But how is it “a good thing if the IP still has some value”? It certainly has value to the fans, but NCSoft has shown repeatedly that they prefer to let it gather dust than actually use it. If the IP has value, let those who value it have access to it. This isn’t going to bring old CoH players to a new game and it means nothing to the players of MXM.

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A Dad Supreme

“But how is it “a good thing if the IP still has some value”?
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Having ‘some value’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘valuable’ to others. Nor does it address ‘current value’ or ‘future value’.
Sure it’s ‘valuable’ to anyone wishing to make a CoH copy, but those folks don’t/didn’t have near enough actual money to reach the ‘value’ of what NCSoft thinks it has in other applications.
I doubt five years ago that anyone would have thought they’d use a CoH character in a MOBA, and we have no idea what NCSoft will use the IP in five years from now either.
This is why companies hold onto such things… because no one can predict what will be valuable in the future.

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TheDonDude

But wouldn’t this very thing be a case of NCSOft using it rather than letting it gather dust?

I’m also not sold on the notion that MXM players won’t care. Are there no players who might enjoy both? MXM already has Mondo Zax from Wildstar, so MMO to MOBA is already a part of the game. Blizzard’s MOBA also includes MMO characters, I believe. I think it’s just a standard part of the cross-IP-MOBA experience.

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Craig Williams

But wouldn’t this very thing be a case of NCSOft using it rather than letting it gather dust?

Yes, I can see your point, but I’ll refer back to an example I used earlier and expand upon it: this is like your elder sibling taking your favourite toy away from you for no real reason other than he doesn’t want you to play with it. You ask him for it repeatedly, even offering to buy it back, but he says no, even though he’s not using it. Then, one day, he gives it to another kid who doesn’t even really care about it one way or another.

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TheDonDude

I agree that your elder sibling taking your toy away (shutting down CoH) was awful. But in the absence of a time machine to fix the past, I’m more focused on judging the giving the toy to another person to play with part (since that’s the part that folks are upset about). In this case, I do think they are now playing with the toy, even if it isn’t in the same manner as we’d like (MMO rather than a MOBA).

I do get your point, though.

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A Dad Supreme

” this is like your elder sibling taking your favourite toy away from you for no real reason other than he doesn’t want you to play with it. ”
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Not quite.
This would be more like your elder sibling lending you one of their toys.
I think this is the problem I see with a lot of ex-CoH players; they think this is “their” toy, just because they played with it for so long, which is illogical.

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Craig Williams

MMOs are kind of a strange thing, though. In pretty much any other type of game, you purchase it and it’s yours to play with in perpetuity. Some people would say that an MMO is the same, in that we own the game, but pay for access to the servers. You buy a car and it’s yours, but you pay for the right to continue to drive it. That, I suspect, is why players feel as if they “own” the game, though I agree with what you said.

To amend my previous example then, you buy a toy from your brother, but for various reasons can only play with it in his room, from which he ultimately evicts you without allowing you to bring the toy. Then he invites his friend over to play with it.

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A Dad Supreme

“To amend my previous example then, you buy a toy from your brother, but for various reasons can only play with it in his room, …”
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I get what you’re trying to say, but it just doesn’t translate, not that I’m not trying to understand.
The arguments people make about ‘owning’ an MMO is simply false not only in a legal sense, but in an abstract, logical sense.
The EULA/TOS tells you clearly you do not ‘own’ the game you buy; you are a renter. That people chose not to read them is their own mistake.
The items you ‘own’ that you ‘buy’ from the cash shop are not yours, they are yours to ‘rent’. If you spend $10,000 in a cash shop on items then years later quit the game, you cannot tell NCSoft they owe you 10k or even $1 for ‘your’ items. You cannot take those items with you when you quit the game or stop paying your sub (in some cases).
In that right, the analogies you keep making about owing toys that someone actually gave you is wrong. They didn’t own them; they were lent or even rented.
It’s more like… “You agreed to give your elder sibling a lollipop a month so that you could play with one of their toys, then one day they decided to stop taking your lollipops and took back their toy. Then later on, you saw they made a deal with your other sibling, got lollipops from them instead so they could use it.”
It may stink, but there is nothing wrong from a business standpoint. From a sibling standpoint, it’s horrible.

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Craig Williams

I get what you’re saying and I can’t really dispute it. I think it does come down to perception in that players perceived themselves to own a part of the game, especially given the ability to create one’s character. I personally invested all kinds of time and thought into my characters, both in-game and out. I wrote novels about some of them, for crying out loud! Ha ha. (That may sound crazy, but I am a writer anyway and creating characters and their stories has always had an appeal for me right from childhood.)

Should people “get over” the game? Probably, yeah. I’ve accepted that it’s not coming back, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t miss it, especially given the friendships I made and the hours of fun that I had. The fact that people are so passionate about it is not inherently bad, I think, but I don’t see a need to hold onto hate. That hurts me more than anyone else. Still, I can understand the negative feelings involved in having something you loved snatched away from you unceremoniously.

At any rate, as was mentioned elsewhere, I appreciate a reasoned approach to this discussion. I have little patience for anyone who dismisses the feelings of another out of hand, but when a logical case is made with some degree of empathy, I am more than willing to listen.

There are a lot of hurt feelings over this game and feelings are not always logical, but we can make an effort to be understanding.

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A Dad Supreme

Agreed.
As a long time MMO player, I get attached to characters or games. My FFXI character I had for almost four years was a part of my identity as well.
But I guess what I considered ‘attached’ doesn’t hold a candle to what some of the former CoH players consider it to mean.
As someone from the outside (played CoH for a month and wasn’t impressed), it seems totally illogical and unhealthy to hang onto a closed-down game for this long but if that’s what they chose to do, that is their right to hold a grudge for decades.

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Gail Booth

I think what a lot of MMO gamers don’t get is that for a large number of us, there were no other MMOs.

I never played MMOs. Actively avoided them, in fact, as the online domain of obnoxious 14 year olds (in mind if not body) who lived to annoy other players. So when a couple of friends started telling me about this great game they had started playing, I ignored them. It took months for them to convince me to grudgingly give a free trial a try. At that time, CoH was just over a year old.

It wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t have to grind. The only tiny bit of PvP in the game was easily avoided. I was a superhero with a cool costume and backstory from day one, since there was no connection between what you could do and how you looked. I was doing missions with actual stories that reinforced my role as a hero. There were ways that my friends, obviously many levels above me, and I could play together. My creativity got a workout because you weren’t stuck just playing one character until you were sick of it. I could be a defender one day and a blaster the next. Everybody got their own ‘treasure’ so there was no fighting over who should get the one shiny the group earned.

But even better, it was a community. We helped each other. People gave away game money like it was water to help the newbies (not noobs) have access to fun stuff sooner. One large, difficult to travel zone had a taxi service of players who would teleport lowbies around. And there was always someone willing to explain to you how something worked, or the best way to accomplish something. So when NCSoft yanked away CoH, they weren’t taking away a source of mild entertainment when we had nothing better to do. They took away our online home.

Since then, I haven’t played any more MMOs. None of them have the community I loved. My friends have given others a try, but the verdict is always “It’s not CoH.”

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A Dad Supreme

Yeah, I’m not unsympathetic. As a gamer, it would be hard to be that way.
There have been several decent MMOs since CoH shutdown to try out and bond with and many I thought weren’t but someone else may have thought otherwise.
I just can’t understand the irrational hate at NCSoft to the point where people say ‘Even if they remake or re-open CoH, I’d say FU NCSoft!’.
There seems to be a lot more of that than “I miss the game” or “I understand it’s their property, but I miss the game” type of statements.
It’s more of a feeling of entitlement from many ex-CoH gamers I read as a general rule.

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TheDonDude

Yeah I’m not too worried about the ‘your toy/their toy’ semantic personally.

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Craig Williams

It’s simply an analogy for those who are unable or unwilling to consider another’s views.
*shrug*

April-Rain
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Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

wow, kick a dog when its down why don’t you NCSoft

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A Dad Supreme

That would assume the dog is still alive to kick.
This particular ‘dog’ has been dead for half a decade already.

April-Rain
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Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

is it that long? does not seem that long ago when I bought city of villans :(

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Gail Booth

Seems like yesterday I was holding a torch in Atlas Park. *sniff*

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Yeah, I facepalmed so hard when I saw this. Very obviously a NCsoft Korea decision, possibly signed off on by their Western leadership that are nearly as out of touch as the Koreans (seriously, Korean publishers have next to no understanding of the US market…it’s bad) and/or just don’t want to fight them.

Anyone with a quarter of a brain who had followed NCsoft over the years could have told them, “Don’t use any characters from MMO’s you’ve shut down, specifically City of Heroes and to a lesser extent Tabula Rasa.” All it’s going to do is rile up a small, but very loud and still angry group of CoH fans, and doesn’t benefit MxM in the slightest.

*sigh* One day we’ll get Korean publishers who actually make an effort to learn/understand the Western market. One day.

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BDJ

Oh look. CoH fans salty. Who would have thought. You should use the opportunity to see an “old friend”. A character you remember fondly. Not everything is a big ole “fuck you”.

There is a reason the game got shut down. You can be bitter , sad, depressed out it. it got shut down because it wasn’t doing well. It didn’t have a lot of players. Just like SWG and other games that have been closed down. Game making, while entertainment for you and me, is a business first and foremost. If a game isn’t making the profits, a company has every right to shut down a game.

Take the bone they are throwing you. Remember the game for it was. Its been 4 1/2 years. You have to let it go at some point.

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Utakata

At the risk of a tu quoque…but your position seems to seasoned with considerable salt as well. o.O

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Scott Schultz

I’m not going to argue that some people shouldn’t let it go after all these years, but if you think the game “wasn’t doing well” then you don’t understand the situation that led to so many people being this salty about it.

Seriously. It’s a LOT of people. I’ve seen MMO’s shut down before, and there’s always that small, hardcore group that holds a grudge. This is different. This is not a handful of malcontents. This is active groups of hundreds of people each on facebook. This is hundreds of people keeping the old communities alive and still holding events and gatherings.

The game was doing well at the time. That’s the whole reason for the rancor. From the standpoint of the players, there was absolutely no reason why the game should have been shut down. It was supporting itself. It had a loyal fan base. It had successfully transitioned to a freemium economic model. It had a bright future.

Then NCSoft shut it down with no explanation whatsoever. None. Just, pffft. Gone.

Yeah, it was a business decision. Probably the sort where a tax writeoff against Aion development made more sense than continuing to support a niche game, even if it was self-supporting. But, it doesn’t matter. We don’t know why they did it. We never will.

If you think City of Heroes was just WoW or Everquest in tights then you really don’t understand the people who made up that loyal fanbase or their reasons for gravitating to City of Heroes instead of WoW or Everquest or something else.

It’s fine to sneer “Get over it!” Just don’t look down on people for holding a grudge about being handled badly by the company they were actively supporting with their monthly dollars. And, make no mistake, NCSoft handled things badly. Korean business and gaming culture clashing with American is partly to blame for that, but it doesn’t change how people at this end of the proverbial shaft felt, and continue to feel about it.

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Witches

If you don’t care about having a solid, established playerbase your argument might make sense, otherwise it doesn’t, if they let go of a game that easily, that means they might just leave one of your current games just as easily.

4 1/2 years is less than the average quality MMO takes to produce, people still being salty means these are the type of loyal long term customers any sane MMO developer should be trying to cater to.

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Craig Williams

Yes, well, except for the fact that it was still doing fairly well, especially for being about 10 years old. It was still profitable. It had a massively loyal following. It stood to benefit from the emerging superhero mania that had started only a few years before and was still building. Plus, as mentioned in the article, it was the way it was done.

Not everything is a big ole “fuck you”.

And yet, sometimes it is.

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BDJ

Fairly well to you isn’t the same as fairly well to a room of execs that look at the bottom line. You might consider a penny a good profit. Others might not.

And , please, quit with the hyperbole. “Massively loyal following” reeks of it. If it had a massive following that actually played the game, it wouldn’t have been shut down.

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Dave Judgement

And , please, quit with the hyperbole. “Massively loyal following” reeks of it. If it had a massive following that actually played the game, it wouldn’t have been shut down.

Maybe the fact is that there was a massively loyal following, and that strong loyalty is why the treatment of the game (and them) by NCSoft still stings so much.

BTW, it’s an aside but I knew lots of people in-game who had various phobias/disorders/conditions/circumstances that meant that they couldn’t interact with the world in the same way as many people do. To many of these, CoH was the way they made contact with people. The way they made friends. The way they didn’t feel isolated and alone.
The CoH community was generally very friendly – especially compared to the virtually-anonymous net as a whole and other games. Maybe it was because it attracted more people who wanted to be heroic, who wanted to live the fantasy their moral compass pointed them to…
For many people, this was far more than a game – it was a social lifeline.

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Craig Williams

And , please, quit with the hyperbole. “Massively loyal following” reeks of it. If it had a massive following that actually played the game, it wouldn’t have been shut down.

You may wish to note that “massively loyal” (which it was) isn’t the same thing as “massive” (which it was not). It is not hyperbole to say that the fans were incredibly devoted to it. You may not understand the depth of their passion (as NCSoft did not), but that does not mean it does not exist.

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Kickstarter Donor
GoldenHornet

I’ve got an idea. Let’s shut your favourite game down for no real reason other than “because..” and recycle the characters into a shitty moba. Let’s see how fast you just “let it go”.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

No one really likes to be thrown scraps.

Would you?

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Castagere Shaikura

This sounds like something EA would do. They know people want the game back but are to cheap to put it back up. But they are willing do something this low in the hopes of making more money off it. Game companies are really starting to seem like crap today.

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